International Spy Museum

The Capital of Spycraft

Agency: January Third


The International Spy Museum is home to James Bond's Aston Martin, the Trotsky Ice Axe, hundreds of gadgets (including a lipstick pistol) and interactive exhibits designed to test your espionage skills. A DC staple for more than 20 years, the Spy Museum recently moved to a huge, custom-designed building to accommodate its 600,000 annual visitors.

Our goal for the 2022 campaign was to increase bookings. We set out to create a series of top-of-mind awareness campaigns for DC tourists, locals, and target demographics in neighboring counties. To maximize attendance, we needed to promote the museum not as yet another DC museum, but an experience like no other.

What sets the museum apart (besides their infamous “rectal tool kit”) is interactivity. Beyond the collection of artifacts, there’s 17 exhibits that challenge visitors of all ages to break ciphers, traverse air ducts, and even surveil other visitors. You’re given an alias and tasked with collecting intel. You’re not simply spectating. The campaign idea became clear:

You don’t visit the Spy Museum. You live it.

Our campaign would aim to reveal how the Spy Museum fundamentally changes the way you see the world.

We took over subways, wrapped buses, and peppered the web with our message: you’re a few stops away from experiencing espionage — seeing James Bonds’ Aston Martin, deciphering unbreakable ciphers, inspecting the lipstick pistol.

We also reminded commuters as they board their buses and trains that, statistically speaking, there’s a spy waiting for them. Fourteen *actual* spies ride the bus every day; hundreds walk by as private citizens switch trains.

With the insight that visitors were purchasing tickets 1-3 days prior to visiting, we focused the entirety of our spend on DC — sprinkling OOH ads where tourists are sure to discover them and across dozens of digital channels. We even leveraged location and weather pattern data to select from a suite of copy variations to serve just the right ad at just the right time in just the right place.

As of spring 2023 Spy's ROAS is the highest it's ever been, netting a year-over-year ticket sale increase of 31%.

This professional campaign titled 'The Capital of Spycraft' was published in United States in March, 2023. It was created for the brand: International Spy Museum, by ad agency: January Third. This Digital, Integrated, and OOH Outdoor media campaign is related to the Hospitality, Tourism industry and contains 4 media assets. It was submitted about 1 year ago by Partner: Maggie Winters of This January.


Creative Agency: January Third
Creative Directors: Zach Goodwin and Maggie Winters
Director: Nathan Colby
Director of Photography: Jiwon Baeq
Producers: Erica Goodwin and Taylor Gilkey
Production Assistants: Andrea Carlota Gonzalez, Valerie Muzondi, Tyler Cogburn, Audrey Gu


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